Passing Thoughts: Puh-lease. Bear-torture is – like – so 2009?
Excuse the lack of bloggage of late. Between getting my ass whupped by exams and daydreaming planning my trip, who has time for some IDIOT FROM BASEL WHO CANNOT CONVERT 3 BREAKPOINTS AT 0-40 TO WIN A FRIGGIN ATP 250 TITLE?!
It’s been 3 weeks since “it” happened and I still haven’t read a single tennis article or column. I remember reading through every tennis article known to man back in 2008 and getting that sinking feeling in my stomach that somehow this is the beginning of the end. And yet, people have been waiting for “the end of Roger Federer” since 2007. Godot might get here first.
I’ve learnt my lesson in 2008 (and indeed, earlier in the year, how many people were saying Rafa’s career was over?) – why make yourself miserable?
At some point, you just have to block out the ‘what-have-you-done-for-me-lately’ panic, trust your own judgement and trust the innate abilities of Roger Federer. And despite all my “tough love” and rage towards him, in Fed I trust.
So some thoughts on Feddy me teddy, going into Wimbledon – feel free to agree/disagree/call me a retard.
The match: coulda won it, but didn’t. The story of Roger Federer’s 2010 post-Aus Open. You donate to Lleyton Hewitt a 15 minute shankfest from the end of the second set to the beginning of the third, you face the consequences. Lleyton, despite being the bunny of the ATP Top 10 in the last few years, is not someone who falters in front of a finish line. Quite the opposite in fact. Dude has made a career out of opportunism – with 2 slams to prove it. It doesn’t excuse Federer’s total mindfuck, nor is it cause for widespread bell-tolling.
No 1: I’m a little mad at Federer about this. As well as Rafa played during the clay season, the No 1 ranking should’ve never been an issue. After the Australian Open, I remember telling someone happily that unless disaster strikes in the next few months and Fed loses before the quarterfinals in almost every single tournament he plays, the Sampras record is going down-own-own. But of course, disaster has a way of “striking” yer. Forget about the rankings, forget about the records: stop bleeding away points, survive the US hard court season respectably. And when Shanghai and Bercy roll around? We’ll wave our cowbells and partay like it’s 1999.
He may not end the year No 1, but he’ll have another chance to strike post-AO 2011, if he handles himself reasonably.
Form: the thought of being in the Northern Hemisphere in 9 days is keeping me from freaking out over Roger’s general WTFuckery. And in truth, the results haven’t shown it, but I’ve been happy with Federer’s tennis since Madrid. Watching Roger these days reminds me of Rafa at the start of 2010 (bizarre losses to Davydenko, Ljubicic & co) – he’s 85% there. As frustrating as it was to watch him lose a match that he had effectively won, at this stage of things, there is only one thing I can offer him: patience. Gut feeling says he’s getting there. Records, streaks, H2Hs be damned.
The usual arguments and unwarranted advice: “Roger Federer needs to prove himself against Nadal.” “Roger Federer needs to serve & volley.” “Roger Federer needs NOT to serve and volley because he can’t volley to save his life.” “Roger Federer can’t find his serve.” “Roger Federer only has a serve. He’s turning into Pete Sampras.” “Roger Federer keeps losing because he is no longer motivated about tennis”.
Excuse me while I stab you with a spork. A recent interview of Federer with the Sport-Bild (German, clickey):
“I’m only 28 and am now in the second half of my career. The end is still far away,” Federer said in an interview with the Sport-Bild.
It sounds like a threat. For Federer knows that if he is fit, he can win every event. And if it goes to the Swiss, the 16 titles are followed by others: “I play for the history books. 20 Grand Slams are possible.”
Interestingly, it’s the first time I’ve heard Feddy mention a number that he might be able to achieve. He’s largely avoided setting himself a target, the rationale being that he doesn’t want to fall short and feel disappointed after such an amazing career. But he wouldn’t be human if he didn’t at least entertain the thought that he might be the first male player to break it out of the ‘teens’ in slam count.
It’s no surprise then that the thought surfaced in the German press and not in English. Does this sound like a man who has lost motivation or lost himself in baby poo to you? You tell me!
Seeding: a whole lotta hot air over nothing. You’ve got a guy who’s only No 2 by a few points. He’s the defending champ, has won 6 of the last 7 Wimbledons, only lost on grass twice since 2003 and achieved the best result out of the top 10 in the pre-Wimbledon warm-up tournaments. Either don’t do any special seeding at all or seed him first.
But of course, the seeding hooha was never about making any meritorious arguments. Just another “take a swipe at the big guy” stunt.
Color me unsurprised.